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R58484956 said:
Today I spoke to a retired (redundant) Blue Star captain, I asked him as captain did he sign his own discharge book, he said "no I do not have one" so I said to him the last time you had a discharge book was when you were a chief mate" He said "yes"
I cannot believe that a seaman does not have a discharge book. Can anybody confirm that captains do not have a discharge book. Lookinf forward to the answer
A captain is not required to have a discharge book as he does not "sign on". However, he is required to prove seatime for revalidation of his/her certificate of competency, GMDSS etc. and for tax purposes. The easiest way to do this is to record his joining and leaving dates in his discharge book. The problem is, if he signs his own discharge book, it's not valid anyway and he then still has to get a statement of sea service from his employer. Most captains get the relieving captain to sign their discharge book during their handover.

British discharge books are issued for "life" and do not, therefore, do not require revalidation. In many parts of the world, the discharge book (or seaman's book are it is called elsewhere) is the required form of identification when going ashore. British seafarers were last required to get new discharge books in 1970, so for old timers such as myself our discharge books are 36 years old as is the photograph in them. This makes life very difficult when trying to prove one's ID, particularly in the USA when going ashore.
 

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I was third mate on the Argentina Star in 1970. The deck officers were accomodated in the bridge house at the forward end of the boat deck. The swimming pool was situated in the shelter deck immediately forward of the bridge and I spent many lazy daylight watches looking down at the ladies in the pool rather than ahead where the danger lay.
I eventually fell down the hatch in BA after a week of burning the midnight oil (constant partying ashore at night, following by loading hanging quarter beef and horse during the day. I woke up in the British Hospital two days later. The Old Man "Black Mac" had made the Chief Steward visit me in hospital before the ship sailed without me and, by putting a pen in my unconscious hand and making a mark on the ship's articles, signed me off. This meant Blue Star no longer had to pay me until I recoved.

When I woke up in the British Hospital, there were two lovely girls sitting on my bunk each holding one of my hands. I was sure then that I was dead and had arrived in heaven. Not so, because when I tried to talk I found my mouth would not open. I'd broken my jaw in the fall and they'd wired my teeth together!
 
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